In Aitkin County, other rural areas, need for better broadband outstrips resources available to provide it

McGREGOR, MINN. – Casey Jelinski was sure it would be easy to run a graphic design company from her new home when she moved with her family to Aitkin County from the Twin Cities area a decade ago.

But internet speeds were shockingly slow. Sometimes it took hours to upload files to clients in China and Europe. She’d occasionally drive more than 60 miles to Duluth and check in at a hotel to work.

“It never dawned on me that it would be such a detriment to my business,” Jelinski said of inadequate broadband access. “There’s no reason for it.”